JdnttsD meefelp" K
By GAVIN OGILVY.
Mr. Joseph Thomson.
Mr. Robert Louis
Rev. W. C. Smith, D.D.
C7, Paternoster Row.
AULD LIGHT IDYLLS.
By J. M. BARRIE (Gavin Ogilvy.)
Bound in buckram, gilt top, crown 8vo, price 6s.
Spectator.— '' K\. once the most successful, the most truly literary, and the moc
realistic attempt that has been made for years— if not for generations— to reprc
duce humble Scotch life. . . . We have thought it positively our duty to cal
attention at some length to this book, because in its fidelity to truth, its humoui
and Its vivid interest, it is a complete and a welcome contrast to the paltry ' duds
which are nowadays printed by the dozen as pictures of humb'e and religious lif
Academy.—'' This is not only the best book dealing exclusively with Scotd
humble life, but the only book of the kind, deserving to be classed as literature
that has been published for at least a quarter of a century."
AtlieticEuui.—'' Very graphic is the description of the storm-beaten, snow-Iadei
clachan of grey stones, and .bright is the observant insight displayed by th(
solitary and philosophic village dominie who tells the tale."
Saturday Review.— '''^oX merely readable, but amusing and suggestive in n(
Literary World.—"' Pictured with marvellous skill. . , . We hardly know anj
word-sketch that so photographs a scene as that which sets forth Thrums in th(
grasp of the snow-storm. . . . For pathos the story of ' Cree Queery and Mys]
DroUy ' will touch the hardest heart. Every page is worth study."
Gi-aphic. — "A book of real humour, touching the surface of things and person;
with a light and lively hand, with occasional subtle suggestions of the depths
human nature below them . . . admirable in their humorous simplicity."
World. — " Drawn in a number of light but singularly careful and vivid touches.
Of its cleverness there can be no question."
Scottish Leader. — "Quite equal — to our thinking superior— to anything in
' Mansie Waugh.' As word pictures, really wonderful."
Manchester Examitier. — "A collection of delightful sketches. Every page
glistens with happy conceits."
Aberdeen Free Press.— "■ The little town with its kirks, and looms, and men,
stands out before us in almost startling reality. With wonderful breadth oi
delineation the author knows how to combine the minute touches and fine work-
manship of a miniature. "
Glasgow Herald.—'' It is difficult to speak of this volume as it deserves without
apparently laying oneself open to exaggeration, and yet to say that in its class
it is the most noticeable book of the year, and that no transcript of Scotch life
and character at once so truthful and poetic has recently been issued from the
jress, is to do it but meagre justice. Nothing could be more masterly."
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THE SECOND ADVENT:
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AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
IpcncH ^ortnuts front College %\it>-
y. M. BARRIE,
AUTHOR OF "when A MAN's SINGLE," " AULD LICHT IDYLLS," ETC.
OFFICE OF THE " BRITISH WEEKLY,"
27, PATERNOSTER ROW.
[All rights resei-z'ed.l
I. Lord Rosebery
11. Professor Masson .
III. Professor Blackie ,
IV. Professor Calderwood
V. Professor Tait
VI. Professor Eraser .
VII. Professor Chrystal
VIII. Professor Sellar .
IX. Mr. Joseph Thomson
X. Mr. Robert Louis Stevenson
XL Rev. Walter C. Smith, D.D.
'T^IIE first time I ever saw Lord Rosebery
^ was ill Edinburgii when I was a student,
and I flung a clod of earth at him. He was
a peer ; those were my politics.
I missed him, and I have heard a good
many journalists say since then that lie is a
difficult man to hit. One who began by
liking him and is now scornful, which is just
the reverse process from mine, told me the
reason why. He had some brochures to
write on the Liberal leaders, and got on
nicely till he reached Lord Rosebery, where
he stuck. Li vain he walked round his lord-
ship, looking for an opening. The man was
naturally indignant ; he is the father of a
Lord Rosebery is forty-one years of age,
and has missed many opportunities of becom-
ing the bosom friend of Lord Randolph
8 AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
Churchill. They were at Eton together and
at Oxford, and have met since. As a boy
the Liberal played at horses, and the Tory
at running off with other boys' caps. Lord
Randolph was the more distinguished at the
University. One day a proctor ran him
down in the streets smoking in his cap and
gown. The undergraduate remarked on the
changeability of the weather, but the proctor,
gasping at such bravado, demanded his name
and college. Lord Randolph failed to turn
up next day at St. Edmund Hall to be lec-
tured, but strolled to the proctor's house about
dinner-time. " Does a fellow, name of Moore,
live here ? " he asked. The footman contrived
not to faint. " He do," he replied, severely ;
"but he are at dinner." " Ah ! take him in my
card," said the unabashed caller. The Merton
books tell that for this the noble lord was
fined ten pounds.
There was a time when Lord Rosebery
would have reformed the House of Lords to
a site nearer Newmarket. As politics took a
firmer grip of him, it was Newmarket that
seemed a long way off. One day at Edin-
LORD ROSEBERY. 9
burgh he realized the disadvantage of owning
swift horses. His brougham had met him
at Waverley Station to take him to Dalmeny.
Lord Rosebery opened the door of the car-
riage to put in some papers, and then turned
away. The coachman, too well bred to look
round, heard the door shut, and thinking that
his master was inside, set off at once. Pur-
suit was attempted, but what was there in
Edinburgh streets to make up on those
horses ? The coachman drove seven miles,
until he reached a point in the Dalmeny
parks where it was his lordship's custom to
alight and open a gate. Here the brougham
stood for some minutes, awaiting Lord Rose-
bery's convenience. At last the coachman
became uneasy and dismounted. His brain
reeled when he saw an empty brougham. He
could have sworn to seeing his lordship enter.
There were his papers. What had happened ?
With a quaking hand the horses were turned,
and, driving back, the coachman looked fear-
fully along the sides of the road. He met
Lord Rosebery travelling in great good
humour by the luggage omnibus.
10 AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
Whatever is to be Lord Rosebery's future,
he has reached that stage in a statesman's
career when his opponents cease to question
his capacity. His speeches showed him long
ago a man of brilliant parts. His tenure of
the Foreign Office proved him heavy metal.
Were the Gladstonians to return to power, the
other Cabinet posts might go anywhere, but
the Foreign Secretary is arranged for. Where
his predecessors had clouded their meaning in
words till it was as wrapped up as a Mussul-
man's head. Lord Rosebery's were the straight-
forward dispatches of a man with his mind
made up. German influence was spoken of ;
Count Herbert Bismarck had been seen shoot-
ing Lord Rosebery's partridges. This was the
evidence : there has never been any other,
except that German methods commended
themselves to the Minister rather than those
of France. His relations with the French
Government were cordial. " The talk of
Bismarck's shadow behind Rosebery," a great
French politician said lately, " I put aside
with a smile; but how about the Jews?"
Probably few persons realize what a power the
LORD ROSEBERY. II
Jews arc in Europe, and in Lord Rosebery's
position he is a strong man if he holds his
own with them. Any fears on that ground
have, I should say, been laid by his record
at the Foreign Office.
Lord Rosebery had once a conversation
with Prince Bismarck, to which, owing to some
oversight, the Paris correspondent of the
Times was not invited. M. Blowitz only
smiled good-naturedly, and of course his
report of the proceedings appeared all the
same. Some time afterwards Lord Rose-
bery was introduced to this remarkable man,
who, as is well known, carries Cabinet
appointments in his pocket, and compli-
mented him on his report. "Ah, it was all
right, was it ? " asked Blo\^^itz, beaming. Lord
Rosebery explained that any fault it had was
that it was all wrong. " Then if Bismarck did
not say that to you," said Blowitz, regally,
"I know he intended to say it."
The " Uncrowned King of Scotland " is a
title that has been made for Lord Rosebery,
whose country has had faith in him from the
beginning. Mr. Gladstone is the only other
12 AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
man who can make so many Scotsmen take
politics as if it were the Highland Fling.
Once when Lord Rosebery was firing an
Edinburgh audience to the delirium point,
an old man in the hall shouted out, " I dinna
hear a word he says, but it's grand, it's
grand ! " During the first Midlothian cam-
paign Mr. Gladstone and Lord Rosebery were
the father and son of the Scottish people.
Lord Rosebery rode into fame on the top of
that wave, and he has kept his place in the
hearts of the people, and in oleographs on
their walls, ever since. In all Scottish matters
he has the enthusiasm of a Burns dinner, and
his humour enables him to pay compliments.
When he says agreeable things to Scotsmen
about their country, there is a twinkle in his
eye and in theirs to which English scribes can-
not give a meaning. He has unveiled so many
Burns' statues that an American lecturess
explains, " Curious thing, but I feel somehow
I am connected with Lord Rosebery. I go
to a place and deliver a lecture on Burns ;
they collect subscriptions for a statue, and he
unveils it." Such is the delight of the Scottish
LORD ROSEBERY. 1 3
students in Lord Rosebery, that he may be
said to have made the triumphal tour of the
northern universities as their Lord Rector ;
he lost the post in Glasgow lately through a
quibble, but had the honour with the votes.
His address to the Edinburgh undergraduates
on " Patriotism " was the best thing he ever
did outside politics, and made the students his
for life. Some of them had smuggled into the
hall a chair with " Gaelic chair " placarded on
it, and the Lord Rector unwittingly played
into their hands. In a noble peroration he
exhorted his hearers to high aims in life.
" Raise your country," he exclaimed (cheers) ;
" raise yourselves (renewed cheering) ; raise
your university " (thunders of applause).
From the back of the hall came a solemn
voice, " Raise the chair ! " Up went the Gaelic
Even Lord Rosebery's views on Imperial
Federation can become a compliment to
Scotland. Having been all over the world
himself, and felt how he grew on his travels,
Lord Rosebery maintains that every British
statesman should visit India and the Colonies.
14 AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
He said that first at a semi-public dinner in
the country — and here I may mention that
on such occasions he has begun his speeches
less frequently than any other prominent
politician with a statement that others could
be got to discharge the duty better ; in other
words, he has several times omitted this
introduction. On his return to London he
was told that his colleagues in the Adminis-
tration had been seeing how his scheme would
work out. " We found that if your rule were
enforced, the Cabinet would consist of your-
self and Childers." " This would be an ideal
Cabinet," Lord Rosebery subsequently re-
marked in Edinburgh, " for it would be
entirely Scottish" ; Mr. Childers being member
for a Scottish constituency.
The present unhappy division of the
Liberal party has made enemies of friends
for no leading man so little as for Lord Rose-
bery. There are forces working against him,
no doubt, in comparatively high places, but
the Unionists have kept their respect for him.
His views may be wrong, but he is about the
only Liberal leader, with the noble exception
LORD ROSEBERY. 1 5
of Lord Ilartington, of whom troublous times
have not rasped the temper. Though a great
reader, he is not a hterary man hke Mv.
Morley, who would, however, be making-
phrases where Lord Rosebery would make
laws. Sir William Harcourt has been spoken
of as a possible Prime Minister, but surely it
will never come to that. If Mr. Gladstone's
successor is chosen from those who have fol-
lowed him on the Home Rule question, he
probably was not rash in himself naming
Lord Rosebery could not now step up
without stepping into the Premiership. His
humour, which is his most obvious faculty,
has been a prop to him many a time ere now,
but, if I was his adviser, I should tell him that
it has served its purpose. There are a great
many excellent people who shake their heads
over it in a man who has become a power in
the land. " Let us be grave," said Dr. John-
son once to a merry companion, " for here
comes a fool." In an unknown novel there is
a character Avho says of himself that " he is
not stupid enough ever to be a great man."
l6 AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
I happen to know that this reflection was
evolved by the author out of thinking over
Lord P^osebery. It is not easy for a bright man
to be heavy, and Lord Rosebery's humour is
so spontaneous that if a joke is made in their
company he has always finished laughing be-
fore Lord Hartington begins. Perhaps when
Lord Rosebery is on the point of letting his
humour run off with him in a public speech
he could recover his solemnity by thinking of
'T^HOUGH a man might, to my mind, be
-*• better employed than in going to college,
it is his own fault if he does not strike on
som2 one there who sends his life off at a new
angle. If, as I take it, the glory of a pro-
fessor is to give elastic minds their proper
bent, Masson is a name his country will retain
a grip of There are men who are good to
think of, and as a rule we only know them
from their books. Something of our pride in
life would go with their fall. To have one
such professor at a time is the most a univer-
sity can hope of human nature, so Edinburgh
need not expect another just yet. These, of
course, are only to be taken as the reminis-
cences of a student. I seem to remember
everything Masson said, and the way he
Having immediately before taken lodgings
1 8 AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
in a crow's nest, my first sight of Masson was
specially impressive. It was the opening of
the session, when fees were paid, and a whisper
ran round the quadrangle that Masson had set
off home with three hundred one-pound notes
stuffed into his trouser pockets. There was
a solemn swell of awestruck students to the
gates, and some of us could not help following
him. He took his pockets coolly. When he
stopped it was at a second-hand bookstall,
where he rummaged for a long time. Even-
tuall}^ he pounced upon a dusty, draggled little
volume, and went off proudly with it beneath
his arm. He seemed to look suspiciously at
strangers now, but it was not the money but
the book he was keeping guard over. His
pockets, however, were unmistakably bulging
out. I resolved to go in for literature.
Masson, however, always comes to my
memory first knocking nails into his desk or
trying to tear the gas-bracket from its socket.
He said that the Danes scattered over Eng-
land, taking such a hold as a nail takes when it
is driven into wood. For the moment he saw
his desk turned into England ; he whirled an
TROFESSOR MASSON. 19
invisible hammer in the air, and clown it
came on the desk with a crash. No one who
has sat under Masson can forget how the
Danes nailed themselves upon England. His
desk is thick with their tombstones. It was
when his mind groped for an image that he
clutched the bracket. He seemed to tear his
good things out of it. Silence overcame the
class. Some were fascinated by the man ;
others trembled for the bracket. It shook,
groaned, and yielded. Masson said another
of the things that made his lectures literature ;
the crisis was passed ; and everybody breathed
He masters a subject by letting it master
him ; for though his critical reputation is built
on honesty, it is his enthusiasm that makes
his work warm with life. Sometimes he
entered the classroom so full of what he had
to say that he began before he reached his
desk. If he was in the middle of a perora-
tion when the bell rang, even the back-benches
forgot to empty. There were the inevitable
students to whom literature is a trial, and
sometimes they call attention to their suffer-
20 AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
ings by a scraping of the feet. Then the pro-
fessor tried to fix his eyeglass on them, and
when it worked properly they were transfixed .
As a rule, however, it required so many ad-
justments that by the time his eye took hold of
it he had remembered that students were made
so, and his indignation went. Then, with the
light in his eye that some photographer ought
to catch, he would hope that his lecture was
not disturbing their conversation. It was
characteristic of his passion for being just
that when he had criticised some writer
severely he would remember that the back -
benches could not understand that criticism
and admiration might go together, unless they
were told so again.
The test of a sensitive man is that he is
careful of wounding the feelings of others.
Once, I remember, a student was reading a
passage aloud, assuming at the same time
such an attitude that the Professor could not
help remarking that he looked like a teapot.
It was exactly what he did look like, and the
class applauded. But next moment Masson
had apologized for being personal. Such
TROFESSOR MASSON. 21
reminiscences are what make the old litera-
ture classroom to thousands of graduates a
delight to think of.
When the news of Carlyle's death reached
the room, Masson could not go on with his
lecture. Every one knows what Carlyle has
said of him ; and no one who has heard it
will ever forget what he has said of Carlyle.
Here were two men who understood each
other. One of the Carlylean pictures one
loves to dwell on shows them smoking to-
gether, with nothing breaking the pauses but
Mrs. Carlyle's needles. Carlyle told Masson
how he gave up smoking and then took to it
again. He had walked from Dumfriesshire
to Edinburgh to consult a doctor about his
health, and was advised to lose his pipe. He
smoked no more, but his health did not im-
prove, and then one day he walked in a wood.
At the foot of a tree lay a pipe, a tobacco
pouch, a match-box. He saw clearly that
this was a case of Providential interference,
and from that moment he smoked again.
There the Professor's story stops. I have no
doubt, though, that he nodded his head when
22 AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
Carlylc explained what the pipe and tobacco
were doing there, Masson's " Milton " is, of
course, his great work, but for sympathetic
analysis I know nothing to surpass his
" Chatterton." Lecturing on Chatterton one
day, he remarked, with a slight hesitation,
that had the poet mixed a little more in com-
pany and — and smoked, his morbidness would
not have poisoned him. That turned my
thoughts to smoking, because I meant to be
a Chatterton, but greater. Since then the
professor has warned me against smoking too
much. He was smoking at the time.
This is no place to follow Masson's career,
nor to discuss his work. To reach his position
one ought to know his definition of a man-of-
letters. It is curious, and, like most of his
departures from the generally accepted, sticks
to the memory. By a man-of-letters he does
not mean the poet, for instance, who is all
soul, so much as the strong-brained writer
whose guardian angel is a fine sanity. He
used to mention John Skelton, the Wolsey
satirist, and Sir David Lindsay, as typical
men-of-lctters from this point of view, and
PROFESSOR JNIASSON. 23
it is as a man-of-letters of that class that
Masson is best considered. In an age of many
whipper-snappers in criticism he is something
of a Gulliver.
The students in that class liked to see then
professor as well as hear him. I let my hair
grow long because it only annoyed other
people, and one day there was dropped into
my hand a note containing sixpence and the
words : " The students sitting behind you
present their compliments, and beg that you
will get your hair cut with the enclosed, as it
interferes with their view of the professor."
Masson, when he edited " Macmillan's,"
had all the best men round him. His talk
of Thackeray is specially interesting, but he
always holds that in conversation Douglas
Jerrold was unapproachable. Jerrold told
him a good story of his sea-faring days. His
ship was lying off Gibraltar, and for some
hours Jerrold, though only a midshipman, was
left in charge. Some of the sailors begged
to get ashore, and he let them, on the promise
that they would bring him back some oranges.
One of them disappeared, and the midship-
24 AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
man suffered for it. More than twenty years
afterwards Jerrold was looking in at a window
in the Strand when he seemed to know the
face of a weather-beaten man who was doing
the same thing. Suddenly he remembered,
and put his hand on the other's shoulder-
" My man," he said, " you have been a long
time with those oranges ! " The sailor recog-
nized him, turned white, and took to his heels.
There is, too, the story of how Dickens and
Jerrold made up their quarrel at the Garrick
Club. It was the occasion on which Masson
first met the author of " Pickwick." Dickens
and Jerrold had not spoken for a year, and
they both happened to have friends at dinner
in the strangers' room, Masson being Jerrold's
guest. The two hosts sat back to back, but
did not address each other, though the con-
versation was general. At last Jerrold could
stand it no longer. Turning, he exclaimed,
" Charley, my boy, how are you .-• " Dickens
wheeled round and grasped his hand.
Many persons must have noticed that, in
appearance, Masson is becoming more and
more like Carlyle every year. How would
PROFESSOR MASSON. 2 5
you account for it ? It is a thing his old
students often discuss when they meet, espe-
cially those of them who, when at college,
made up their minds to dedicate their first
book to him. The reason they seldom do it
is because the book does not seem good
PROFESSOR JOHN STUART BLACKIE.
ATELY I was told that Blackic— one
docs not say Mr. Cromwell — is no longer
Professor of Greek in Edinburgh University.
What nonsense some people talk. As if
Blackic were not part of the building. In
his class one day he spoke touchingly of the
time when he would have to join Socrates in
the Elysian fields. A student cheered — no
one knows why. " It won't be for some time
yet," added John Stuart.
Blackic takes his ease at home in a
dressing-gown and straw hat. This shows
that his plaid really does come off. " j\Iy
occupation nowadays," he said to me recently,
"is business, blethers, bothers, beggars, and
backgammon." He has also started a pro-
fession of going to public meetings, and
hurrying home to write letters to the news-
papers about them. When the editor shakes
28 AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
the manuscript a sonnet falls out. I think I
remember the Professor's saying that he had
never made five shillings by his verses. To
my mind they are worth more than that.
Though he has explained them frequently,
there is still confusion about Blackie's politics.
At Manchester they thought he was a Tory,
and invited him to address them on that
understanding. " I fancy I astonished them,"
the Professor said to me. This is quite pos-
sible. Then he was mistaken for a Liberal.
The fact is that Blackie is a philosopher
who follows the golden mean. He sees this
himself. A philosopher who follows the
golden mean is thus a man who runs zig-zag
between two extremes. You will observe
that he who does this is some time before he
The Professor has said that he has the
strongest lungs in Scotland. Of the many
compliments that might well be paid him,
not the least worthy would be this, that he is as
healthy mentally as physically. Mrs. Norton
begins a novel with the remark that one of
the finest sights conceivable is a well-pre-
PROFESSOR JOHN STUART BLACKIE. 29
served gentleman of middle-age. It will be
some time yet before Blackie reaches middle-
age, but there must be something wrong with
you if you can look at him without feeling
refreshed. Did you ever watch him marching
along Princes Street on a warm day, when
every other person was broiling in the sun ?
His head is well thrown back, the staff,
grasped in the middle, jerks back and for-
ward like a weaver's shuttle, and the plaid
flies in the breeze. Other people's clothes
are hanging limp. Blackie carries his breeze
A year or two ago Mr. Gladstone, when
at Dalmeny, pointed out that he had the
advantage over Blackie in being of both
Highland and Lowland extraction. The
Professor, however, is as Scotch as the
thistle or his native hills, and Mr. Gladstone,
quite justifiably, considers him the most out-
standing of living Scotsmen. Blackie is not
quite sure himself Not long ago I heard
him read a preface to a life of Mr. Gladstone
that was being printed at Smyrna in modern
Greek. He told his readers to remember
30 AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
that Mr. Gladstone was a great scLolar and
an upright statesman. They would find it
easy to do this if they first remembered that
he was Scottish.
The IVorld included Blackie in its list of
" Celebrities at Home." It said that the door
was opened by a red-headed lassie. That
was probably meant for local colour, and it
amused every one who knew Mrs. Blackie.
The Professor is one of the niost genial of
men, and will show you to your room
himself, talking six languages. This tends
to make the conversation one-sided, but he
does not mind that. He still writes a good
deal, spending several hours in his library
daily, and his talk is as brilliant as ever.
His writing nowadays is less sustained than,
it was, and he prefers flitting from one sub-
ject to another to evolving a great work.
When he dips his pen into an ink-pot it at
once writes a sonnet — so strong is the force
of habit. Recently he wrote a page about
Carlyle in a little book issued by the Edin-
burgh students' bazaar committee. In this
he reproved Carlyle for having " bias."
PROFESSOR JOHN STUART BLACKIE. 3 1
Blackic wonders why people should have
Some readers of this may in their student
days have been invited to the Greek profes-
sor's house to breakfast without knowing
why they were selected from among so many.
It was not, as they are probably aware, be-
cause of their classical attainments, for they
were too thoughtful to be in the prize-list;
nor was it because of the charm of their
manners or the fascination of their conver-
sation. When the Professor noticed any
physical peculiarity about a student, such as
a lisp, or a glass eye, or one leg longer than
the other, or a broken nose, he was at once
struck by it, and asked him to breakfast.
They were very lively breakfasts, the eggs
being served in tureens ; but sometimes it
was a collection of the maimed and crooked,
and one person at the table — not the host
himself — used to tremble lest, making mirrors
of each other, the guests should see why they
Sometimes, instead of asking a student
to breakfast, Blackie would instruct another
32 AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
student to request his company to tea. Then
the two students were told to talk about
paulo-post futures in the cool of the evening,
and to read their Greek Testament and to go
to the pantomime. The Professor never tired
of giving his students advice about the pre-
servation of their bodily health. He strongly
recommended a cold bath at six o'clock every
morning. In winter, he remarked genially,
you can break the ice with a hammer. Ac-
cording to himself, only one enthusiast seems
to have followed his advice, and he died.
In Blackie's classroom there used to be a
demonstration every time he mentioned the
name of a distinguished politician. Whether
the demonstration took the Professor by sur-
prise, or whether he waited for it, will never,
perhaps, be known. But Blackie at least put
out the gleam in his eye, and looked as if he
were angry. " I will say Beaconsfield," he
would exclaim (cheers and hisses). " Beacons-
field " (uproar). Then he would stride for-
ward, and, seizing the railing, announce his
intention of saying Beaconsfield until every
goose in the room was tired of cackling.
PROFESSOR JOHN STUART r.LACKTE. 33
("Question.") " Bcaconsfickl." ("No no.")
"Bcaconsfickl." ("Hear, hear," and shouts
of "Gladstone") " Beaconsfield." ("Three
cheers for Dizzy.") Iivcntually tlie class
would be dismissed as— (i) idiots, (2) a bear
garden, (3) a (lock of sheep, (4) a pack of
numskulls, (5) hissing- serpents. The pro-
fessor would retire, apparently fuming, to his
anteroom, and five minutes afterwards he
would be playing himself down the North
Bridge on imaginary bagpipes. This sort of
thing added a sauce to all academic sessions.
There was a notebook also, which appeared
year after year. It contained the Professor's
jokes of a former session, carefully classified
by an admiring student. It was handed
down from one year's men to the next, and
thus if Blackie began to make a joke about
haggis, the possessor of the book had only
swiftly to turn to the H's, find what the joke
was, and send it along the class quicker than
the professor could speak it.
In the old days the Greek professor recited
a poem in honour of the end of the session.
He composed it himself,and, as known to me, it
34 AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
took the form of a graduate's farewell to his
Alma Mater. Sometimes he would knock a
map down as if overcome with emotion, and
at critical moments a student in the back-
benches would accompany him on a penny
trumpet. Now, I believe, the Hellenic Club
takes the place of the classroom. All the
eminent persons in Edinburgh attends its
meetings, and Blackie, the Athenian, is in
the chair. The policeman in Douglas
Crescent looks skeered when you ask him
what takes place on these occasions. It is
generally understood that toward the end
of the meeting they agree to read Greek next
TT ERE is a true story that the general
reader may jump, as it is intended for
Professor Calderwood himself. Some years
ago an English daily paper reviewed a book
entitled "A Handbook of Moral Philosophy."
The Professor knows the work. The
"notice" was done by the junior reporter,
to whom philosophical treatises are generally
entrusted. He dealt leniently, on the whole,
with Professor Calderwood, even giving him
a word of encouragement here and there.
Still the criticism was severe. The reviewer
subsequently went to Edinburgh University,
and came out 144th in the class of Moral
That student is now, I believe, on friendly
terms with Professor Calderwood, but has
never told him this story. I fancy the Pro-
fessor would like to know his name. It may.
36 AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
perhaps, be reached in this way. He was the
young gentleman who went to his classes the
first clay in a black coat and silk hat, and
was cheered round the quadrangle by a body
of admiring fellow-students, who took him
for a professor.
Calderwood contrives to get himself more
in touch with the mass of his students than
some of his fellow-professors, partly because
he puts a high ideal before himself, and to
some extent because his subject is one that
Scottish students revel in. Long before
they join his class they know that they are
moral philosophers ; indeed, they are some-
times surer of it before they enrol than
afterwards. Their essays begin in some such
fashion as this — " In joining issue with Reid,
I wish to take no unfair advantage of my
antagonist " ; or " Kant is sadly at fault when
he says that " ; or " It is strange that a man
of Locke's attainments should have been
blind to the fact." When the Professor reads
out these tit-bits to the class his eyes twinkle.
Some students, of course, are not such keen
philosophers as others. Does Professor
PROFESSOR CALDERWOOD. 37
Calderwood remember the one who was
nev^er struck by anything in moral philo-
sophy until he learned by accident that
Descartes lay in bed till about twelve o'clock
every morning ? Then it dawned on him
that he, too, must have been a philosopher
all his life without knowing it. One year a
father and son were in the class. The
father got so excited over volition and the
line that divides right from wrong, that he
wrenched the desk before him from its
sockets and hit it triumphantly, meaning that
he and the Professor were at one. He was
generally admired by his fellow-students,
because he was the only one in the class
who could cry out " Hear, hear," and even
" question," without blushing. The son, on
the other hand, was blasL\ and would have
been an agnostic, only he could never re-
member the name. Once a week Calderwood
turns his class into a debating society, and
argues things out with his students. This
field-diiy is a joy to them. Some of them
spend the six days previous in preparing
posers. The worst of the Professor is that
38 AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
he never sees that they are posers. What
is the use of getting up a question of the
most subtle kind, when he answers it right
away ? It makes you sit clown quite sud-
denly. There is an occasional student who
tries to convert liberty of speech on the
discussion day into license, and of him the
Professor makes short work. The student
means to turn the laugh on Calderwood, and
then Calderwood takes advantage of him, and
the other students laugh at the wrong person.
It is the older students, as a rule, who are
most violently agitated over these philo-
sophical debates. One with a beard cracks
his fingers, after the manner of a child in
a village school that knows who won the
battle of Bannockburn, and feels that he
must burst if he docs not let it out at once.
A bald-headed man rises every minute to
put a question, and then sits down, looking
stupid. He has been trying so hard to re-
member what it is, that he has forgotten.
There is a legend of two who quarrelled over
the Will and fought it out on Arthur's Seat.
One year, however, a boy of sixteen or so,
PROFESSOR CALDERWOOD. 39
with a squeaky voice and a stammer, was
Calderwood's severest critic. He sat on the
back bench, and what he wanted to know
was something about the infinite. Every
discussion day he took advantage of a lull
in the debate to squeak out, " With regard to
the infinite," and then could never get any
further. No one ever discovered what he
wanted enlightenment on about the infinite.
He grew despondent as the session wore on,
but courageously stuck to his point. Pro-
bably he is a soured man now. For purposes
of exposition Calderwood has a black board
in his lecture-room, on which he chalks circles
that represent the feelings and the will, with
arrows shooting between them. In my class
there was a boy, a very little boy, who had
been a dux at school and was a dunce at
college. He could not make moral philo-
sophy out at all, but did his best. Here were
his complete notes for one day : — " Edinburgh
University, class of Moral Philosophy, Pro-
fessor Calderwood, Lecture 64, Jan, 11, 18 — .
You rub out the arrow, and there is only the
40 AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
Professor Caldervvood is passionately fond
of music, as those who visit at his house
know. He is of opinion that there is a great
deal of moral philosophy in "The Dead
March in Saul." Once he said something to
that effect in his class, adding enthusiastically
that he could excuse the absence of a student
who had been away hearing " The Dead
March in Saul." After that he received a
good many letters from students, worded in
this way : " Mr. McNaughton (bench 7)
presents his compliments to Professor Calder-
wood, and begs to state that his absence from
the class yesterday was owing to his being
elsewhere, hearing ' The Dead March in
Saul.'" "Dear Professor Caldervvood — I
regret my absence from the lecture to-day,
but hope you will overlook it, as I was un-
avoidably detained at home, practising ' The
Dead March in Saul.'— Yours truly, Peter
Webster." " Professor Caldervvood, — Dear
Sir, — As I was coming to the lecture to-day,
I heard ' The Dead March in Saul ' being
played in the street. You will, I am sure,
make allowance for my non-attendance at
PROFESSOR CALDERWOOD. 4I
the class, as I was too much affected to
come. It is indeed a grand march.— Yours
faithfully, JOIIN ROBBIE." " The students
whose names are subjoined thank the Pro-
fessor of Moral Philosophy most cordially
for his remarks on the elevating power of
music. They have been encouraged thereby
to start a class for the proper study of the
impressive and solemn march to which he
called special attention, and hope he will
excuse them, should their practisings occa-
sionally prevent their attendance at the
Friday lectures." Professor Calderwood does
not lecture on " The Dead March in Saul "
The class of Moral Philosophy is not for
the few, but the many. Some professors do
not mind what becomes of the nine students,
so long as they can force on every tenth.
Calderwood, however, considers it his duty to
carry the whole class along with him, and it
is, as a consequence, almost impossible to fall
behind. The lectures are not delivered, in
the ordinary sense, but dictated. Having
explained the subject of the day with the
42 AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
lucidity that is this professor's pccuhar gift,
he condenses his remarks into a proposition.
It is as if a minister ended his sermon with
the text. Thus : — " Proposition 34. Man is
born into the world — (You have got that ?
See that you have all got it.) Man is born
into the world with a capacity — with a
capacity — " (Anxious student : " If you
please, Professor, where did you say man was
born into ? ") " Into the world, with a
capacity to distinguish " — (" With a what,
sir ? ") — " with a capacity to distinguish " — ■
(Student : " Who is born into the world ? ")
" Perhaps I have been reading too cjuickly.
Man is born into the world, with a capacity
to distinguish between — distinguish between
(student shuts his book, thinking that com-
pletes the proposition) — distinguish between
right and wrong — right — and wrong. You
have all got Proposition 34, gentlemen ? "
Once Calderwood was questioning a student
about a proposition to see that he thoroughly
understood it. " Give an illustration," sug-
gested the Professor. The student took the
case of a murderer. " Very good," said the
PROFESSOR CALDERWOOl). 43
Professor. " Now give me another illustra-
tion." The student pondered for a little.
" Well," he said at length, " take the case of
Professor Caldervvood has such an excep-
tional interest in his students that he asks
every one of them to his house. This is
but one of many things that makes him
generally popular ; he also invites his ladies'
class to meet them. The lady whom you
take down to supper suggests Proposition 41
as a nice thing to talk about, and asks what
you think of the metaphysics of ethics.
Professor Caldervvood sees the ladies into the
cabs himself. It is the only thing I ever
heard against him.
JUST as I opened my desk to write enthu-
siastically of Tait, I remembered having
recently deciphered a pencil note about him,
in my own handwriting, on the cover of
Masson's " Chronological List," which I still
keep by me. I turned to the note to see if
there was life in it yet. " Walls," it says,
" got 2s. for T. and T. at Brown's, i6. Walker-
street." I don't recall Walls, but T. and T.
was short for *' Thomson and Tait's Elements
of Natural Philosophy" (Elements!), better
known in my year as the " Student's First
Glimpse of Hades." Evidently Walls sold
his copy, but why did I take such note of the
address? I fear T. and T. is one of the
Books Which Have Helped Me. This some-
what damps my ardour.
When Tait was at Cambridge it was flung
46 AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
in the face of the mathematicians that they
never stood high in Scriptural knowledge.
Tait and another were the two of whom
one must be first wrangler, and they agreed
privately to wipe this stigma from mathe-
matics. They did it by taking year about
the prize which was said to hang out of their
reach. It is always interesting to know of
professors who have done well in Biblical
knowledge. All Scottish students at the
English Universities are not so successful. I
knew a Snell man who was sent back from
the Oxford entrance exam., and he always
held himself that the Biblical questions had
Turner is said by medicals to be the finest
lecturer in the University. He will never
be that so long as Tait is in the Natural
Philosophy chair. Never, I think, can there
have been a more superb demonstrator. I
have his burly figure before me. The small
twinkling eyes had a fascinating gleam in
them ; he could concentrate them until they
held the object looked at ; when they flashed
round the room he seemed to have drawn a
PROFESSOR TAIT. 47
rapier. I have seen a man fall back in alarm
under Tait's eyes, though there were a dozen
benches between them. These eyes could be
merry as a boy's, though, as when he turned a
tube of water on students who would insist on
crowding too near an experiment, for Tait's
was the humour of high spirits. I could
conceive him at marbles still, and feeling
annoyed at defeat. He could not fancy
anything much funnier than a man missing
his chair. Outside his own subject he is not,
one feels, a six-footer. When Mr. R. L.
Stevenson's memoir of the late Mr. Fleeming
Jenkin was published, Tait said at great
length that he did not like it ; he would
have had the sketch by a scientific man.
But though scientists may be the only men
nowadays who have anything to say, they are
also the only men who can't say it. Scientific
men out of their sphere know for a fact that
novels are not true. So they draw back
from novelists who write biography, Pro-
fessor Tait and Mr. Stevenson are both men
of note, who walk different ways, and when
they meet neither likes to take the curbstone.
48 AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
If they were tied together for life in a three-
legged race, which would suffer the more ?
But if Tait's science weighs him to the
earth, he has a genius for sticking to his
subject, and I am lost in admiration every
time I bring back his lectures. It comes as
natural to his old students to say when they
meet, " What a lecturer Tait was ! " as to
Englishmen to joke about the bagpipes. It
is not possible to draw a perfect circle,
Chrystal used to say, after drawing a very fine
one. To the same extent it was not possible
for Tait never to fail in his experiments.
The atmosphere would be too much for him
once in a session, or there were other hostile
influences at work. Tait warned us of these
before proceeding to experiment, but we
merely smiled. We believed in him as
though he were a Bradshaw announcing that
he would not be held responsible for possible
I had forgotten Lindsay; " the mother may
forget her child." As I write he has slipped
back into his chair on the Professor's right,
and I could photograph him now in his
PROFESSOR TAIT. 49
brown suit. Lindsay was the imperturbable
man who assisted Tait in his experiments,
and his father held the post before him.
When there were many of us together, we
could applaud Lindsay with burlesque exag-
geration, and he treated us good-humouredly,
as making something considerable between
us. But I once had to face Lindsay alone,
in quest of my certificate ; and suddenly he
towered above me, as a waiter may grow tall
when you find that you have not money enough
to pay the bill. He treated me most kindly ;
did not reply, of course, but got the certifi-
cate, and handed it to me as a cashier con-
temptuously shovels you your pile of gold.
Long ago I pasted up a crack in my window
with the certificate, but it said, I remember,
that I had behaved respectably — so far as I
had come under the eyes of the Professor*
Tait was always an enthusiast.
We have been keeping Lindsay waiting.
When he had nothing special to do he sat
indifferently in his chair, with the face of a
precentor after the sermon has begun. But
though it was not very likely that Lindsay
so AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
would pay much attention to talk about such
pla}-thing.s as the laws of Nature, his fingers
went out in the direction of the Professor
when the experiments began. Then he was
lot the precentor ; he was a minister in one
of the pews. Lindsay was an inscrutable
man, and I shall not dare to say that he even
half- wished to see Tait fail, lie only looked
on, ready for any emergency ; but if the
experiment would not come off, he was as
quick to go to the Professor's assistance as
a member of Parliament is to begin when
he has caught the Speaker's eye. Perhaps
Tait would have none of his aid, or pushed
the mechanism for the experiment from him
— an intimation to Lindsay to carry it
Cjuickly to the ante-room. Do you think
Lindsay read the instructions so ? Let me
tell }-ou that }our mind fails to seize hold
of Lindsay. He marched the machine out
of Tait's vicinity as a mother may pusli her
erring boy away from his father's arms, to
take him to her heart as soon as the door
is closed. Lindsay took the machine to his
seat,-and laici it before him on the desk with
PROFESSOR TAIT. 5I
welt-conccaled apathy. Tait would Hash his
eye to the right to see wliat Lindsay was
after, and there was Lindsay sitting with his
arms folded. The Professor's lecture resumed
its way, and then out went Lindsay's hands
to the machine. Here he tried a wheel ;
again he turned a screw ; in time he had
the machine ready for another trial. No
one was looking his way, when suddenly
there was a whizz — bang, bang. All eyes
were turned upon Lindsay, the Professor's
among them. A cheer broke out as we
realized that Lindsay had done the experi-
ment. Was he flushed with triumph ? Not
a bit of it ; he was again sitting with his
arms folded. A Glasgow merchant of modest
manners, when cross-examined in a law court,
stated itliat he had a considerable monetary
interest in a certain concern. " How much
do you mean by a 'considerable monetary
interest ' ? " demanded the contemptuous bar-
rister who was cross-examining him. " Oh,"
said the witness, humbly, "a maiter o' a
million an' a half — or, say, twa million."
That Glasgow man in the witness-box is the
52 AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
only person I can think of when looking
about mc for a parallel to Lindsay. While
the Professor eyed him and the students
deliriously beat the floor, Lindsay quietly
gathered the mechanism together and carried
it to the ante-room. His head was not flung
back nor his chest forward, like one who
walked to music. In his hour of triumph he
was still imperturbable. I lie back in my
chair to-day, after the lapse of years, and ask
myself again. How did Lindsay behave after
he entered the ante-room, shutting the door
behind him.'' Did he give way? There is
no one to say. When he returned to the
classroom he wore his familiar face ; a man
to ponder over.
There is a legend about the Natural Philo-
sophy classroom — the period long antecedent
to Tait. The Professor, annoyed by a habit
students had got into of leaving their hats on
his desk, announced that the next hat placed
there would be cut in pieces by him in pre-
sence of the class. The warning had its
effect, until one day when the Professor was
called for a few minutes from the room. An
PROFESSOR TAIT. 53
undergraduate, to whom the natural sciences,
unreh'cved, were a monotonous study, sh'pped
into the ante-room, from which he emerged
with the Professor's hat. This he placed on
the desk, and then stole in a panic to his seat.
An awe fell upon the class. The Professor
returned, but when he saw the hat he
stopped. He showed no anger. " Gentle-
men," he said, " I told you what would
happen if you again disobeyed my orders."
Quite blandly he took a pen-knife from his
pocket, slit the hat into several pieces, and
flung them into the sink. While the hat was
under the knife the students forgot to demon-
strate, but as it splashed into the sink they
gave forth a true British cheer. The end.
Close to the door of the Natural Philo-
sophy room is a window that in my memory
will ever be sacred to a janitor. The janitors
of the University were of varied interest,
from the merry one who treated us as if
we were his equals, and the soldier who
sometimes looked as if he would like to
mow us down, to the Head Man of All,
whose name T dare not write, though I can
54 AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
whisper it. The janitor at the window, how-
ever, sat there through the long evenings
while the Debating Society (of which I was
a member) looked after affairs of State in
an adjoining room. We were the smallest
society in the University and the longest-
winded, and I was once nearly expelled for
not paying my subscription. Our grand
debate was, " Is the policy of the Govern-
ment worthy the confidence of this Society? "
and we also read about six essays yearly
on " The Genius of Robert Burns " ; but it
was on private business that we came out
strongest. The question that agitated us
most was whether the meetings should be
opened with prayer, and the men who
thought they should would not so much as
look at the men who thought they should not.
When the janitor was told that we had begun
our private business he returned to his win-
dow and slept. His great day was when we
could not form a quorum, which happened
now and then.
Gregory was a member of that society :
what has become of Gregory ? He was one of
TROFESSOR TAIT. 55
those men who professors say have a brilh'ant
future before them, and who have not since
been licard of. Morton, another member,
was of a chffercnt stamp. lie led in the
debate on " Beauty of the Mind v. Beauty of
the Body." His writhing contempt for tlie
beauty that is only skin deep is not to be
forgotten. How noble were his rhapsodies
on the beauty of the mind ! And when he
went to Calderwood's to supper, how quick
he was to pick out the prettiest girl, who took
ten per cent, in Moral Philosophy, and to sit
beside her all the evening. Morton had a
way of calling on his friends the night before
a degree examination to ask them to put him
up to as much as would pull him through.
Tait used to get greatly e.vcited over the
rectorial elections, and if he could have dis-
guised himself, would have liked, I think, tc
join in the fight round the Brew.ster statue.
He would have bled for the Conservative
cause, as his utterances on University reform
have shown. The reformers have some cause
for thinking that Tait is a greater man in
his classroom than when he addresses the
56 AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
graduates. He has said that the less his
students know of his subject when they join
his class, the less, probably, they will have to
unlearn. Such views are behind the times
that feed their children on geographical
biscuits in educational nurseries with astro-
nomical ceilings and historical wall-papers.
PROFESSOR CAMPBELL ERASER.
NOT long ago I was back in the Old
University — how well I remembcr
pointing it out as the gaol to a stranger who
had asked me to show him round. I was in
one of the library ante-rooms, when some one
knocked, and I looked up, to see Campbell
Fraser framed in the doorway. I had not
looked on that venerable figure for half a
dozen years. I had forgotten all my meta-
physics. Yet it all came back with a rush.
I was on my feet, wondering if I existed
Calderwood and Fraser had both their fol-
lowings. The moral philosophers wore an
air of certainty, for they knew that if they
stuck to Calderwood he would pull them
through. You cannot lose yourself in the
back-garden. But the metaphysicians had
their doubts. Fraser led them into strange
58 AN EDINP.URGII ELEVEN.
places, and said he would meet them there
again next day. TJiey wandered to their
lodgings, and got into difficulties with their
landlady for saying that she was only an
aggregate of sense phenomena. Fraser was
rather a hazardous cure for weak intellects.
Young men whose anchor had been certainty
of themselves went into that class floating
buoyantly on the sea of facts, and came out
all adrift — on the sea of theory — in an open
boat — rudderless — one oar — the boat scuttled.
How could they think there was any chance
for them, when the Professor was not even
sure of himself? I see him rising in a daze
from his chair and putting his hands through
his hair. " Do I exist," he said, thoughtfull}^
" strictly so-called ? " The .students (if it was
the beginning of the session) looked a little
startled. This was a matter that had not
previously disturbed them. Still, if the Pro-
fessor was in doubt, there must be something
in it. He began to argue it out, and an
uncomfortable silence held the room in awe.
If he did not exist, the chances were that they
did not exist either. It was thus a personal
PROFESSOR rAMPBEIJ. ERASER. 59
question. The Professor glanced round slowly
for an illustration. " Am I a table ? " A
pained look travelled over the class. Was it
just possible that they were all tables ? It is
no wonder that the students who do not go to
the bottom during their first month of meta-
physics begin to give themselves airs strictl)-
so-called. In the privacy of their room at
the top of the house they pinch themselves to
see if they arc still there.
He would, I think, be a sorry creature who
did not find something to admire in Campbell
Eraser. Metaphysics may not trouble you, as
it troubles him, but you do not sit under the
man without seeing his transparent honesty
and feeling that he is genuine. In appear-
ance and in habit of thought he is an ideal
philosopher, and his communings with himself
have lifted him to a level of serenity that is
worth struggling for. Of all the arts profes-
sors in Edinburgh he is probably the most
difficult to understand, and students in a hurry
have called his lectures childish. If so, it may
be all the better for them. Eor the first half
of the hour, they say, he tells you what he is
6o AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
eoincr to do, and for the second half he revises.
Certainly he is vastly explanatory, but then
he is not so young as they are, and so he has
his doubts. They are so cock-sure that they
wonder to see him hesitate. Often there is a
mist on the mountain when it is all clear in
Eraser's great work in his edition of
Berkeley, a labour of love that should live
after him. He has two Berkeleys, the large
one and the little one, and, to do him justice,
it was the little one he advised us to consult.
I never read the large one myself, which is in
a number of monster tomes, but I often had a
look at it in the library, and I was proud to
think that an Edinburgh professor was the
editor. When Glasgow men came through to
talk of their professors we showed them the
big Berkeley, and after that they were reason-
able. There was one man in my year who
really began the large Berkeley, but after a
time he was missing, and it is believed that
some day he will be found flattened between
the pages of the first volume.
The " Selections " was the text-book we
PROFESSOR CAMPUELL ERASICR. 6 1
used in the class. It is surficicnt to prove that
Berkeley wrote beautiful Eni^lish. I am not
sure that any one has written such English
since. Wc have our own " stylists," but how
self-conscious the}' are after Berkeley. It is
seven years since I opened my " Selections,"
but I see that I was once more of a metaphy-
sician than I have been giving myself credit
for. The book is scribbled over with posers in
my handwriting about dualism and primary
realities. Some of the comments are in short-
hand, which I must at one time have been
able to read, but all are equally unintelligible
now. Here is one of my puzzlers : — " Does
B here mean impercipient and unperceived
subject or conscious and percipient subject ? "
Observe the friendly B. I daresay farther on
I shall find myself referring to the Professor
as F. I wonder if I ever discovered what B
meant. I could not now tell what I meant
As many persons are aware, the " Selections"
consist of Berkeley's text with the Pro-
fessor's notes thereon. The notes are expla-
natory of the text, and the student must find
62 AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
them an immense help. Here, for instance,
is a note : — " Pheaomenal or sense dependent
existence can be substantiated and caused
only by a self-conscious spirit, for otherwise
there could be no propositions about it expres-
sive of what is conceivable ; on the other
hand, to affirm that phenomenal or sense
dependent existence, which alone we know,
and which alone is conceivable, is, or even
represents, an inconceivable non-phenomenal
or abstract existence, would be to affirm a
contradiction in terms." There we have it.
As a metaphysician I was something of a
disappointment. I began well, standing, if I
recollect aright, in the three examinations,
first, seventeenth, and seventy-seventh. A
man who sat beside me — man was the word
we used — gazed at me reverently when I
came out first, and I could see by his eye
that he was not sure whether I existed
properly so-called. By the second exam, his
doubts had gone, and by the third he was
surer of me than of himself. He came out
fifty-seventh, this being the grand triumph of
his college course. He was the same whose
I'ROl'ESSUR CAMl'UKLL ERASER. 6^
key translated c/'ds doiiabcris hacdo " To-
niorrow }'ou will be [)resented with a kid,"
but who, thinkint^ that a little vulgar, refined
it down to " To-morrow you will be presented
with a small child."
In the metai)hysics class 1 was like the
fountains in the quadrangle, which ran dry
toward the middle of the session. While
things were still looking hopeful for me, I had
an invitation to breakfast with the Professor.
If the fates had been so propitious as to for-
ward me that invitation, it is possible that I
might be a metaphysician to this day, but 1
had changeci my lodgings, and when I heard
of the affair, all was over. The Professor
asked me to stay behind one day after the lec-
ture, and told me that he had got his note back
with " Left : no address," on it. " However,''
he said, " you may keep this," presenting me
with the invitation for the Saturday previously.
1 mention this to show that even professors
have hearts. That letter is preserved with
the autographs of three editors, none of
which anybody can read.
There was once a medical student who
64 AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
came up to my rooms early in the session,
and I proved to him in half an hour that he
did not exist. He got quite frightened, and I
can still see his white face as he sat staring at
me in the gloaming. This shows what meta-
physics can do. He has recovered, however,
and is sheep-farming now, his examiners never
having asked him the right questions.
The last time Fraser ever addressed me
was when I was capped. He said, " I con-
gratulate you, Mr. Smith " : and one of the
other professors said, " I congratulate you,
Mr. Fisher." My name is neither Smith nor
Fisher, but no doubt the thing was kindly
meant. It was then, however, that the pro-
fessor of metaphysics had his revenge on me.
I had once spelt Fraser with a " z "
TlfHEN Chrystal came to Edinburgh he
* • rooted up the humours of the classroom
as a dentist draws teeth. Souls were sold for
keys that could be carried in the waistcoat
pocket. Ambition fell from heights, and lay
with its eye on a certificate. By night was a
rush of ghosts, shrieking for passes. Horse
play fled before the Differential Calculus in
I had Chrystal's first year, and recall the
gloomy student sitting before me who hacked
"All hope abandon ye who enter here" into
a desk that may have confined Carlyle. It
took him a session, and he was digging his
own grave, for he never got through ; but it
was something to hold by, something he felt
sure of. All else was spiders' webs in chalk.
Chrystal was a fine hare for the hounds who
could keep up with him. He started off the
66 AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
first day with such a spurt tliat most of us
were left behind mopping our faces, and say-
ing, " Here's a fellow," which is what Mr.
Stevenson says Shakespeare would have re-
marked about Mr. George Meredith. We
never saw him again. The men who were
on speaking acquaintance with his symbols
revelled in him as students love an enthusiast
who is eager to lead them into a world toward
which they would journey. He was a rare
puide for them. The bulk, however, lost him
in labyrinths. They could not but admire
their brilliant professor ; but while their friend
the medalist and he kept the conversation
to themselves, they felt like eavesdroppers
hearkening to a pair of lovers. " It is beauti-
ful," they cried, "but this is no place for us ;
let us away."
A good many went, but their truancy stuck
in their throats like Otway's last roll. The
M.A. was before them. They had fancied it
in their hands, but it became shy as a maiden
from the day they learned Chrystal's heresy
that Euclid is not mathematics but only some
riders in it. This snapped the cord that had
PROFESSOR CHRYSTAL. 6/
tied the blind man to his dog, and the M.A,
shot down the horizon. When Rutherford
dehvered his first lecture in the chair of Insti-
tutes of Medicine, boisterous students drowned
his voice, and he flung out of the room. At
the door he paused to say, " Gentlemen, we
shall meet again at Philippi." A dire bomb
was this in the midst of them, warranted to
go off, none able to cast it overboard. We,
too, had our Philippi before us. Chrystal could
not be left to his own devices.
I had never a passion for knowing that
when circles or triangles attempt impossi-
bilities it is absurd ; and .x was an unknown
quantity I was ever content to walk round
about. To admit to Chrystal that we under-
stood X was only a way he had of leading you
on to y and .c. I gave him his chance, how-
ever, by contributing a paper of answers to
his first weekly set of exercises. When the
hour for returning the slips came round, I was
there to accept fame — if so it was to be — with
modesty ; and if it was to be humiliation, still
to smile. The Professor said there was one
paper, with an owner's name on it, which he
68 AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
could not read, and it was handed along the
class to be deciphered. My presentiment
that it was mine became a certainty when
it reached my hand ; but I passed it on
pleasantly, and it returned to Chrystal, a
Japhet that never found its father. Feeling
that the powers were against me, I then re-
tired from the conflict, sanguine that the
teaching of my mathematical schoolmaster,
the best that could be, would pull me through.
The Disowned may be going the round of the
The men who did not know when they were
beaten returned to their seats, and doggedly
took notes, their faces lengthening daily.
Their note-books reproduced exactly the
hieroglyphics of the blackboard, and, ex-
amined at night, were as suggestive as the
photographs of persons one has never seen.
To overtake Chrystal after giving him a start
was the presumption that is an offshoot from
despair. There was once an elderly gentle-
man who for years read the Times every day
from the first page to the last. For a fort-
night he was ill of a fever ; but, on recovering,
PROFESSOR CIIRYSTAL. 69
he began at the copy of the Times where he
had left off. He struggled magnificently to
make up on the Times, but it was in vain.
This is an allegory for the way these students
panted after Chrystal.
Some succumbed and joined the majority —
literally ; for to mathematics they were dead.
I never hear of the old University now, nor
pass under the shadow of the walls one loves
when he is done with them, without seeing
myself as I was the day I matriculated, an
awestruck boy, passing and repassing the
gates, frightened to venture inside, breathing
heavily at sight of janitors, Scott and Carlyle
in the air. After that I see nothing fuller of
colour than the meetings that were held out-
side Chrystal's door. Adjoining it is a class-
room so little sought for, that legend tells of
its door once showing the notice : " There
will be no class to-day as the student is un-
well." The crowd round Chrystal's could
have filled that room. It was composed of
students hearkening at the door to see
whether he was to call their part of the roll
to-day. If he did, they slunk in ; if not, the
70 AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
crowd melted into the streets, this refrain in
their ears —
" I'm plucked, I do admit,
I'm spun, my mother dear,
Yet do not grieve for that
Which happens every year.
I've waited very patiently,
I may have long to wait,
But you've another son, mother,
And he will graduate."
A professor of mathematics once brought
a rowdy student from the back benches to a
seat beside him, because — "First, you'll be near
the board ; second, you'll be near me ; and,
third, you'll be near the door." Chrystal soon
discovered that students could be too near the
door, and he took to calling the roll in the
middle of the hour, which insured an increased
attendance. It was a silent class, nothing
heard but the patter of pencils, rats scraping
for grain, of which there was abundance, but
not one digestion in a bench. To smuggle
in a novel up one's waistcoat was perilous,
Chrystal's spectacles doing their work. At
a corner of the platform sat the assistant,
with a constable's authority, but not formed
rROTn<:ssoR ciirvstal. 71
for swooping-, uneasy because he had legs,
and where to put them he knew not. He got
through the hour by shifting his position every
five minutes ; and, sitting there waiting, he
reminded one of the boy who, on being told
to remain so quietly where he was that he
could hear a pin drop, held his breath a
moment, then shouted, " Let it drop!" An
excellent fellow was this assistant, who told
us that one of his predecessors had got three
A jest went as far in that class as a plum in
the midshipmen's pudding, and, you remem-
ber, when the middies came on a plum they
gave three cheers. In the midcile of some
brilliant reasoning Chrystal would stop to add
4, 7, and 1 1. Addition of this kind was the
only thing he could not do, and he looked to
the class for help — " 20," they shouted, " 24,"
" 17," while he thought it over. These appeals
to their intelligence made them beam. They
woke up as a sleepy congregation shakes itself
into life when the minister says, " I remember
when I was a little boy. . . ."
The daring spirits — say, those who were
72 AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
going into their father's office, and so did not
look upon Chrystal as a door locked to their
advancement — sought to bring sunshine into
the room. Chrystal soon had the blind down
on that. I hear they have been at it recently
with the usual result. To relieve the mono-
tony, a student at the end of bench ten dropped
a marble, which toppled slowly downward
toward the Professor. At every step it took
there was a smothered guffaw ; but Chrystal,
who was working at the board, did not turn
his head. When the marble reached the
floor, he said, still with his back to the class,
" Will the student at the end of bench ten,
who dropped that marble, stand up ? " All
eyes dilated. He had counted the falls of the
marble from step to step. Mathematics do
not obscure the intellect.
Twenty per cent, was a good percentage in
Chrystal's examinations ; thirty sent you away
whistling. As the M.A. drew nigh, students
on their prospects might have been farmers
discussing the weather. Some put their faith
in the Professor's goodness of heart, of which
symptoms had been showing. He would
PROFESSOR CTIRYSTAL. 73
not, all at once, " raise the standard " — hated
phrase until you are through, when you write
to the papers advocating it. Courage ! was it
not told of the Glasgow Sncll competition
that one of the competitors, as soon as he saw
the first paper, looked for his hat and the door,
that he was forbidden to withdraw until an
hour had elapsed, and that he then tackled
the paper and ultimately carried off the Snell ?
Of more immediate interest, perhaps, was the
story of the quaking student, whose neighbour
handed him in pencil, beneath the desk, the
answer to several questions. It was in an
M.A. exam., and the affrighted student found
that he could not read his neighbour's notes.
Trusting to fortune, he enclosed them with his
own answers, writing at the top, " No time to
write these out in ink, so enclose them in
pencil." He got through : no moral.
A condemned criminal wondering if he is
to get a reprieve will not feel the position
novel, if he has loitered in a University quad-
rangle waiting for the janitor to nail up the
results of a degree exam. A queer gathering
we were, awaiting the verdict of Chrystal.
74 AN EDTNBURfUI EI.EVEN.
Some compressed their lips, others were lively
as fireworks dipped in water ; there were those
who rushed round and round the quadrangle ;
only one went the Icnc^th of saying that he
did not want to pass. H. I shall call him. I
met him the other day in Fleet Street, and he
annoyed me by asking at once if I remem-
bered the landlady I quarrelled with because
she wore my socks to church of a Sunday ;
we found her out one wet forenoon. H.
waited the issue with a cigar in his mouth.
He had purposely, he explained, given in a
bad paper. He could not understand why
men were so anxious to get through. He had
ten reasons for wishing to be plucked. We
let him talk. The janitor appeared with the
fateful paper, and we lashed about him like
waves round a lighthouse, all but H., who
strolled languidly to the board to which the
paper was being fastened. A moment after-
wards I heard a shriek, " I'm through ! I'm
through ! " It was H. His cigar was dashed
aside, and he sped like an arrow from the bow
to the nearest telegraph office, shouting " I'm
through ! " as he ran.
PROFESSOR CIIRYSTAl,. 75
Those of US who had IT.'s fortune now con-
sider Chrystal made to order for his chair, but
he has never, perhaps, had a proper apprecia-
tion of the cliarming fellows who get ten per
WHEN one of the distinguished hunting
ladies who chase celebrities captured
Mr. Mark Pattison, he gave anxious con-
sideration to the quotation which he was
asked to write above his name. " Fancy,"
he said with a shudder, " going down to
posterity arm in arm with carpe dkui I "
Remembering this, I forbear tying Sellar to
odi profaniivi viilgus. Yet the name opens
the door to the quotation.
Sellar is a Roman senator. He stood
very high at Oxford, and took a prize for
boxing. If you watch him in the class, you
will sometimes see his mind murmuring that
Edinburgh students do not take their play
like Oxford men. The difference is in man-
ner. A courteous fellow-student of Sellar
once showed his relatives over Balliol. " You
have now, I think," he said at last, " seen
78 AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
everything of interest except the Master."
He flung a stone at a window, at which the
Master's head appeared immediately, menac-
ing, wrathful. " And now," concluded the
polite youth, " you have seen him also."
Mr. James Payn, who never forgave the
Scottish people for pulling down their blinds
on Sundays, was annoyed by the halo they
have woven around the name " Professor."
He knew an Edinburgh lady who was scan-
dalized because that mere poet, Alexander
Smith, coolly addressed professors by their
surnames. Mr. Payn might have know"
what it is to walk in the shadow of a Senatus
Academicus, could he have met such speci-
mens as Sellar, Fraser, Tait, and Sir Alexan-
der Grant marching down the Bridges abreast.
I have seen them : an inspiriting sight. The
pavement only held three. You could have
shaken hands with them from an upper win-
Sellar's treatment of his students was
always that of a fine gentleman. Few got
near him ; all respected him. At times he
was addressed in an unknown tongue, but he
PROFESSOR SELLAR. 79
kept his countenance. He was particular
about students keeping to their proper
benches, and once thought he had caught
a swarthy north countryman straying. " You
are in your wrong seat, Mr. Orr." " Na, am
richt eneuch." " You should be in the seat
in front. That is bench 12, and you are
entered on bench 10." " Eh ? This is no
bench twal, (counting) twa, fower, sax, audit,
ten." " There is something wrong." " Oh-h-h
(with sudden enlightenment) ye've been coon-
tin' the first dask ; we dinna coont the first
dask." The Professor knew the men he had
to deal with too well to scorn this one, who
turned out to be a fine fellow. He was the
only man I ever knew who ran his medical
and arts classes together, and so many lectures
had he to attend daily that he mixed them up.
He graduated, however, in both faculties in
five years, and the last I heard of him was
that, when applying for a medical assistant-
ship, he sent his father's photograph because
he did not have one of himself He was a
man of brains as well as sinew, and dined
briskly on a shilling a week.
80 AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
There was a little fellow in the class who
was a puzzle to Sellar, because he was higher
sitting than standing : when the Professor
asked him to stand up, he stood down. " Is
Mr. Blank not present ? " Sellar would ask.
" Here, sir," cried Blank. " Then, will you
stand up, Mr. Blank ? " (Agony of Blank,
and a demonstration of many feet.) " Are
you not prepared, Mr. Blank } " " Yes, sir ;
Pastor quuin traJiarct — " " I insist on your
standing up, Mr. Blank." (Several students
rise to their feet to explain, but subside.)
" Yes, sir ; Pastor quiim traJiaret per — " " I
shall mark you ' not prepared,' Mr. Blank."
(Further demonstration, and then an indig-
nant squeak from Blank.) "If you please,
sir, I am standing." " But, in that case, how
is it — .^ Ah, oh, ah, yes ; proceed, Mr.
Blank." As one man was only called upon
for exhibition five or six times in a year, the
Professor had always forgotten the circum-
stances when he asked Blank to stand up
again. Blank was looked upon by his fellow-
students as a practical jest, and his name was
always received with the prolonged applause
PROFESSOR SEL1,AR. Si
which greets the end of an after-dinner
Sellar never showed resentment to the
students who addressed him as Professor
One day the Professor was giving out some
English to be translated into Latin prose.
He read on — " and fiercely lifting the axe with
both hands — " when a cheer from the top
bench made him pause. The cheer spread
over the room like an uncorked gas.
Sellar frowned, but proceeded — " lifting the
axe — ," when again the class became de-
mented. "What does this mean?" he
demanded, looking as if he, too, could lift
the axe. "Axe!" shouted a student in ex-
planation. Still Sellar could not solve the
riddle. Another student rose to his assist-
ance. " Axe— Gladstone ! " he cried. Sellar
sat back in his chair. " Really, gentle-
men," he said, " I take the most elaborate
precautions against touching upon politics
in this class, but sometimes you are beyond
me. Let us continue — ' and fiercely lifting
his weapon with both hands — .' "
82 AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
The duxes from the schools suffered a little
during their first year, from a feeling that
they and Sellar understood each other. He
liked to undeceive them. We had one, all
head, who went about wondering at himself
He lost his bursary on the way home with it,
and still he strutted. Sellar asked if wc saw
anything peculiar in a certain line from
Horace. We did not. We were accustomed
to trust to Horace's reputation, all but the
dandy. " Eh — ah ! Professor," he lisped ;
" it ought to have been so and so." Sellar
looked at this promising plant from the
schools, and watered him without a rose on
the pan. " Depend upon it, Mr. — ; ah, I did
not catch your name, if it ought to have been
so and so, Horace would have made it so and
Sellar's face was proof against sudden wit.
It did not relax till he gave it liberty. You
could never tell from it what was going on in-
side. He read without a twitch a notice on
his door : " Found in this class a gold-headed
pencil case ; if not claimed within three days
will be sold to defray expenses." He even
PROFESSOR SELLAR. 03
withstood the battering ram on the clay of the
pubhcation of his " Augustan Poets." The
students could not let this opportunity pass.
They assailed him with frantic applause
every bench was a drum to thump upon. Mis
countenance said nothing. The drums had
it in the end, though, and he dismissed the
class with what is believed to have verged
on a smile. Like the lover who has got his
lady's glance, they at once tried for more, but
Most of us had Humanity our first year,
which is the year for experimenting. Then
is the time to join the University library.
The pound, which makes you a member, has
never had its poet. You can withdraw your
pound when you please. There are far-see-
ing men who work the whole thing out by
mathematics. Put simply, this is the notion.
In the beginning of the session you join the
library, and soon you forget about your
pound ; you reckon without it. As the winter
closes in, and the coal-bunk empties ; or you
find that five shillings a week for lodgings is a
dream that cannot be kept up ; or your coat
84 AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
assumes more and more the colour identified
with spring ; or you would feast your friends
for once right gloriously ; or next Wednesday
is your little sister's birthday ; you cower,
despairing, over a sulky fire. Suddenly you
are on your feet, all aglow once more. What
is this thought that sends the blood to
your head ? That library pound ! You had
forgotten that you had a bank. Next morn-
ing you are at the university in time to help
the library door to open. You ask for your
pound ; you get it. Your hand mounts guard
over the pocket in which it rustles. So they
say. I took their advice and paid in my
money ; then waited exultingly to forget
about it. In vain. I always allowed for that
pound in my thoughts. I saw it as plainly, I
knew its every feature as a schoolboy re-
members his first trout. Not to be hasty, I
gave my pound two months, and then brought
it home again. I had a fellow-student who
lived across the way from me. We railed at
the library pound theory at open windows
over the life of the street ; a beautiful dream,
but mad, mad.
PROFESSOR SELLAR. 85
He was an enthusiast, and therefore happy,
whom I have seen in the Humanity class-
room on an examination day, his pen racing
with time, himself seated in the contents of
an ink-bottle. Some stories of exams, have
even a blacker ending. I write in tears of
him who, estimating his memory as a leaky
vessel, did with care and forethought draw
up a crib that was more condensed than a
pocket cyclopaedia, a very Liebig's essence of
the classics, tinned meat for students in the
eleventh hour. Bridegrooms have been
known to forget the ring ; this student for-
got his crib. In the middle of the examina-
tion came a nervous knocking at the door.
A lady wanted to see the Professor at once.
The student looked up, to see his mother
handing the Professor his crib. Her son had
forgotten it ; she was sure that it was im-
portant, so she had brought it herself
Jump the body of this poor victim. There
was no M.A. for him that year ; but in our
gowns and sashes we could not mourn for a
might-have-been. Soldiers talk of the Vic-
toria Cross, statesmen of the Cabinet, ladies
86 AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
of a pearl set in diamonds. These arc pretty
baubles, but who has thrilled as the student
that with bumping heart strolls into Middle-
mass's to order his graduate's gown. He
hires it — five shillings — but the photograph
to follow makes it as good as his for life.
Look at him, young ladies, as he struts to
the Synod Hall to have M.A. tacked to his
name. Dogs do not dare bark at him. His
gait is springy ; in Princes Street he is as one
vvho walks upstairs. Gone to me are those
student days for ever, but I can still put a
photograph before me of a ghost in gown and
cape, the hair straggling under the cap as
tobacco may straggle over the side of a tin
when there is difficulty in squeezing down the
lid. How well the little black jacket looks,
how vividly the wearer remembers putting it
on. He should have worn a dress-coat, but
he had none. The little jacket resembled
one with the tails off, and, as he artfully
donned his gown, he backed against the wall
so that no one might know.
To turn up the light on old college days is
not always the signal for the dance. You are
PROFESSOR SELLAR. 8/
back in the dusty little lodging, with its
battered sofa, its slippery tablecloth, the
prim array of books, the picture of the death
of Nelson, the peeling walls, the broken clock ;
you are again in the quadrangle with him who
has been dead this many a year. There are
tragedies in a college course. Dr. Walter
Smith has told in a poem mentioned elsewhere
of the brilliant scholar who forgot his dominie ;
some, alas ! forget their mother. There are
men — I know it — who go mad from loneliness ;
and medalists ere now have crept home to
die. The capping-day was the end of our
spring-tide, and for some of us the summer
was to be brief. Sir Alexander, gone into
the night since then, flung " I mekemae " at
us as we trooped past him, all in bud, some
small flower to blossom in time, let us hope,
here and there.
MR. JOSEPH THOMSON.
TWO years hence Joseph Thomson's repu-
tation will be a decade old, though he
is at present only thirty years of age. When
you meet him for the first time you con-
clude that he must be the explorer's son.
His identity, however, can always be proved
by simply mentioning Africa in his presence.
Then he draws himself up, and his eyes
glisten, and he is thinking how glorious it
would be to be in the Masai country again,
livine: on meat so diseased that it crumbled
in the hand like short-bread.
Gatelaw-bridge Quarry, in Dumfriesshire, is
famous for Old Mortality and Thomson, the
latter (when he is at the head of a caravan)
being as hardheaded as if he had been cut
out of it. He went to school at Thornhill,
where he spent great part of his time in
reading novels, and then he matriculated at
90 AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
Edinburgh University, where he began to
accumulate medals. Geology and kindred
studies were his favourites there. One day
he heard that Keith Johnston, then on the
point of starting for Africa, wanted a lieu-
tenant. Thomson was at that time equally
in need of a Keith Johnston, and everybody
who knew him saw that the opening and he
were made for each other. Keith Johnston
and Thomson went out together, and Johnston
died in the jungle. This made a man in an
hour of a stripling. Most youths in Thom-
son's position at that turning point of his
career would have thought it judicious to turn
back, and in geographical circles it would
have been considered highly creditable had
be brought his caravan to the coast intact.
Thomson, however, pushed on, and did every-
thing that his dead leader had hoped to do.
From that time his career has been followed
by every one interested in African explora-
tion, and by his countrymen with some pride
in addition. When an expedition was or-
ganized for the relief of Emin Pasha, there
was for a time some probability of Thomson's
MR. JOSEPH THOMSON. 9 1
having- the command. He and Stanley
differed as to the routes that should be taken,
and subsequent events have proved that
Thomson's was the proper one.
Thomson came over from Paris at that
time to consult with the authorities, and
took up his residence in the most over-grown
hotel in London. His friends here organized
an expedition for his relief. They wandered
up and down the endless stairs looking for
him, till, had they not wanted to make
themselves a name, they would have beaten
a retreat. He also wandered about looking
for them, and at last they met. The leader
of the party, restraining his emotion, lifted
his hat, and said, " Mr. Thomson, 1 pre-
sume ? " This is how I found Thomson.
The explorer had been for some months in
Paris at that time, and Prance did him the
honour of translating his " Through Masai-
land " into Prench. In this book there is a
picture of a buffalo tossing Thomson in the
air. This was after he had put several
bullets into it, and in the sketch he is repre-
sented some ten feet from the ground, with
92 AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
his gun flying one way and his cap another.
" It was just as if I were distributing largess
to the natives," the traveller says now, though
this idea does not seem to have struck him
at the time. He showed the sketch to a
Parisian lady, who looked at it long and
earnestly. " Ah, M. Thomson," she said at
length, " but how could you pose like that ? "
Like a good many other travellers, inclu-
ding Mr. Du Chaillu, who says he is a dear
bo}', Thomson does not smoke. Stanley,
however, smokes very strong cigars, as those
who have been in his sumptuous chambers in
Bond Street can testify. All the three hap-
pen to be bachelors, though ; because, one
of them says, after returning from years of
lonely travel, a man has such a delight in
female society that to pick and choose would
be invidious. Yet they have had their
chance. An African race once tried to bribe
Mr. Du Chaillu with a kingdom and over
eight hundred wives, — " the biggest offer," he
admits, " I ever had in one day."
Among the lesser annoyances to which
Thomson was subjected in Africa was the
]\iR. josEni THOMSON. 93
presence of rats in the night-time, which he
had to brush away Hke flics. Until he was
asked whether there was not danger in this,
it never seems to have struck him that it
was more than annoying. Yet though he
and the two other travellers mentioned
(doubtless they are not alone in this) have
put up cheerfully with almost every hardship
known to man, this does not make them
indifferent to the comforts of civilization
when they return home. Du Chaillu was
looking very comfortable in a house-boat the
other day, where his hosts thought they were
"roughing it" — with a male attendant ; and
in Stanley's easy chairs you sink to dream.
The last time I saw Thomson in his rooms in
London he was on his knees, gazing in silent
rapture at a china saucer with a valuable
crack in it.
If you ask Thomson what was the most
dangerous expedition he ever embarked on,
he will probably reply, " Crossing Piccadilly."
The finest thing that can be said of him is
that during these four expeditions he never
once fired a shot at a native. Other ex-
94 AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
plorers have had to do so to save their
hves. There were often occasions when
Thomson could have done it, to save his Hfe
to all appearance, too. The result of his
method of progressing is that where he has
gone— and he has been in parts of Africa
never before trod by the white man — he
really has " opened up the country " for those
who care to follow him. Civilization bj^
bullet has only closed it elsewhere. Yet
though there is an abundance of Scotch
caution about him, he is naturally an impul-
sive man, more inclined personally to march
straight on than to reach his destination by a
safer if more circuitous route. Where only
his own life is concerned he gives you the
impression of one who might be rash, but his
prudence at the head of a caravan is at the
bottom of the faith that is placed in him.
According to a story that got into the papers
years ago, M. de Brazza once quarrelled with
Thomson in Africa, and all but struck him.
Thomson was praised for keeping his temper.
The story was a fabrication, but I fear that
if M. de Brazza had behaved like this,
MR. JOSEPIT THOMSON. 95
Thomson would not have rcmcmbcrctl to be
diplomatic till some time afterwards. A
truer tale might be told of an umbrella,
gorgeous and wonderful to behold, that De
Braza took to Africa to impress the natives
with, and which Thomson subsequently pre-
sented to a dusky monarch.
The explorer has never shot a lion, though
he has tracked a good many of them. Once
he thought he had one. It was reclining in
a little grove, and Thomson felt that it was
his at last. With a trusty native he crept
forward till he could obtain a good shot,
and then fired. In breathless suspense he
waited for its spring, and then when it did
not spring he saw that he had shot it through
the heart. However, it turned out only to be
a large stone.
The young Scotchman sometimes thinks
of the tremendous effect it would have had
on the natives had he been the possessor of
a complete set of artificial teeth. This is
because he has one artificial tooth. Hap-
pening to take it out one day, an awe filled
all who saw him, and from that hour he
g6 AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
was esteemed a medicine man. Another
excellent way of impressing Africa with the
grandeur of Britain was to take a photograph.
When the natives saw the camera aimed at
them they fell to the ground vanquished.
When Thomson was recently in this
country, he occasionally took a walk of
twenty or thirty miles to give him an appe-
tite for dinner. This he calls a stroll. One
day he strolled from Thornhill to Edinburgh,
had dinner, and then went to the Exhibition.
In appearance he is tall and strongly knit
rather than heavily built, and if you see him
more than once in the same week, you dis-
cover that he has still an interest in neck-
ties. Perhaps his most remarkable feat
consisted in taking a bottle of brandy into
the heart of Africa, and bringing it back
ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON.
QOME men of letters, not necessarily the
^ greatest, have an indescribable charm to
which we give our hearts. Thackeray is the
young man's first love. Of living authors
none perhaps bewitches the reader more
than Mr. Stevenson, who plays upon words
as if they were a musical instrument. To
follow the music is less difficult than to
place the musician. A friend of mine, who,
like Mr. Grant Allen, reviews 365 books a
year, and 366 in leap years, recently arranged
the novelists of to-day in order of merit
Meredith, of course, he wrote first, and then
there was a fall to Hardy. " Haggard," he
explained, "I dropped from the Eiffel Tower;
but what can I do with Stevenson ? I can't
put him before ' Lorna Doone.' " So Mr.
Stevenson puzzles the critics, fascinating
them until they are willing to judge him by
98 AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
the great work he is to write by and by
when the Httle books are finished. Over
" Treasure Island " I let my fire die in
winter without knowing that I was freezing.
But the creator of Alan Breck has now
published nearly twenty volumes. It is so
much easier to finish the little works than to
begin the great one, for which we are all
Mr. Stevenson is not to be labelled nove-
list. He wanders the byways of literature
without any fixed address. Too much of a
truant to be classified with the other boys,
he is only a writer of fiction in the sense that
he was once an Edinburgh University stu-
dent because now and again he looked in at
his classes when he happened to be that way.
A literary man without a fixed occupation
amazes Mr. Henry James, a master in the
school of fiction which tells, in three volumes,
how Hiram K. Wilding trod on the skirt of
Alice M. Sparkins without anything's coming
of it. Mr. James analyzes Mr. Stevenson
with immense cleverness, but without sum-
ming up. That "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"
ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON. 99
should be by the author of " Treasure Is-
land," " Virginibus Puerisque " by the author
of " The New Arabian Nights," "A Child's
Garden of Verses " by the author of " Prince
Otto," are to him the three degrees of com-
parison of wonder, though for my own part
I marvel more that the author of " Daisy
Miller" should be Mr. Stevenson's eulogist.
One conceives Mr. James a boy in velveteens
looking fearfully at Stevenson playing at
There is nothing in Mr. Stevenson's some-
times writing essays, sometimes romances,
and anon poems to mark him versatile be-
yond other authors. One dreads his continuing
to do so, with so many books at his back, lest
it means weakness rather than strength. He
experiments too long ; he is still a boy
wondering what he is going to be. With
Cowley's candour he tells us that he wants to
write something by which he may be for ever
known. His attempts in this direction have
been in the nature of trying different ways,
and he always starts off whistling. Having
gone so far without losing himself, he turns
100 AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
back to try another road. Does his heart
fail him, despite his jaunty bearing, or is it
because there is no hurry ? Though all his
books are obviously by the same hand, no living
writer has come so near fame from so many
different sides. Where is the man among
us who could write another " Virginibus
Puerisque," the most delightful volume for
the hammock ever sung in prose? The
poems are as exquisite as they are artificial.
" Jekyll and Hyde " is the greatest triumph
extant in Christmas literature of the morbid
kind. The donkey on the Cevennes (how
Mr. Stevenson belaboured him !) only stands
second to the " Inland Voyage." " Kid-
napped " is the outstanding boy's book of its
generation. " The Black Arrow " alone, to
my thinking, is second-class. We shall all
be doleful if a marksman who can pepper his
target with inners does not reach the bull's-
eye. But it is quite time the great work was
begun. The sun sinks while the climber
walks round his mountain, looking for the
best way up.
Hard necessity has kept some great
ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON. lOI
writers from doing their best work, but Mr.
Stevenson is at last so firmly established that
if he continues to be versatile it will only
be from choice. He has attained a popu-
larity such as is, as a rule, only accorded to
classic authors or to charlatans. For this he
has America to thank rather that Britain,
for the Americans buy his books, the only
honour a writer's admirers are slow to pay
him. Mr. Stevenson's reputation in the
United States is creditable to that country,
which has given him a position here in which
only a few saw him when he left. Unfor-
tunately, with popularity has come publicity.
All day the reporters sit on his garden wall.
No man has written in a finer spirit of the
profession of letters than Mr. Stevenson, but
this gossip vulgarizes it. The adulation of
the American public and of a little band of
clever literary dandies in London, great in
criticism, of whom he has become the darling,
has made Mr. Stevenson complacent, and he
always tended perhaps to be a thought too
fond of his velvet coat. There is danger in
the delight with which his every scrap is now
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
102 AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
received. A few years ago, when he was
his own severest and sanest critic, he stopped
the publication of a book after it was in proof
— a brave act. He has lost this courage, or
or he would have re-written " The Black
Arrow." There is deterioration in the essays
he has been contributing to an American
magazine,' graceful and suggestive though
they are. The most charming of living
stylists, Mr. Stevenson is self-conscious in all
his books now and again, but hitherto it has
been the self-consciousness of an artist with
severe critics at his shoulder. It has become
self-satisfaction. The critics have put a
giant's robe on him, and he has not flung
it off. He dismisses " Tom Jones " with a
simper. Personally Thackeray " scarce ap-
peals to us as the ideal gentleman ; if there
were nothing else [what else is there?], per-
petual nosing after snobbery at least suggests
the snob." From Mr. Stevenson one would
not have expected the revival of this silly
charge, which makes a cabbage of every man
who writes about cabbages. I shall say no
more of these ill-considered papers, though
ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON. IO3
the sneers at Fielding call for indignant
remonstrance, beyond expressing a hope
that they lie buried between magazine covers.
Mr. Stevenson has reached the critical point
in his career, and one would like to see him
back at Bournemouth, writing within high
walls. We want that big book ; we think
he is capable of it, and so we cannot afford
to let him drift into the seaweed. About the
writer with whom his name is so often
absurdly linked we feel differently. It is
as foolish to rail at Mr. Rider Haggard's
complacency as it would be to blame Chris-
topher Sly for so quickly believing that he
was born a lord.
The key - note of all Mr. Stevenson's
writings is his indifference, so far as his
books are concerned, to the affairs of life
and death on which other minds are chiefly
set. Whether man has an immortal soul
interests him as an artist not a whit : what
is to come of man troubles him as little
as where man came from. He is a warm,
genial writer, yet this is so strange as to
seem inhuman. His philosophy is that we
104 AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
are but as the light-hearted birds. This is
our moment of being ; let us play the in-
toxicating game of life beautifully, artisti-
cally, before we fall dead from the tree.
We all know it is only in his books that Mr.
Stevenson can live this life. The cry is to
arms ; spears glisten in the sun ; see the
brave bark riding joyously on the waves, the
black flag, the dash of red colour twisting
round a mountainside. Alas ! the drummer
lies on a couch beating his drum. It is a
pathetic picture, less true to fact now, one
rejoices to know, tha^ it was recently. A
common theory is that Mr, Stevenson dreams
an ideal life to escape from his own suffer-
ings. This sentimental plea suits very well.
The noticeable thing, however, is that the
grotesque, the uncanny, holds his soul ; his
brain will only follow a coloured clue. The
result is that he is chiefly picturesque, and, to
those who want more than art for art's sake,
never satisfying. Fascinating as his verses
are, artless in the perfection of art, they take
no reader a step forward. The children of
whom he sings so sweetly are cherubs without
ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON. I05
souls. It is not in poetry that Mr. Steven-
son will give the great book to the world,
nor will it, I think, be in the form of essays.
Of late he has done nothing quite so fine as
" Virginibus Puerisque," though most of his
essays are gardens in which grow few weeds.
Quaint in matter as in treatment, they are
the best strictly literary essays of the day,
and their mixture of tenderness with humour
suggests Charles Lamb. Some think Mr.
Stevenson's essays equal to Lamb's, or
greater. To that I say No. The name of
Lamb will for many a year bring proud tears
to English eyes. Here was a man, weak like
the rest of us, who kept his sorrows to him-
self. Life to him was not among the trees.
He had loved and lost. Grief laid a heavy
hand on his brave brow. Dark were his
nights ; horrid shadows in the house ; sudden
terrors ; the heart stops beating waiting for
a footstep. At that door comes Tragedy,
knocking at all hours. Was Lamb dis-
mayed ? The tragedy of his life was not
drear to him. It was wound round those
who were dearest to him ; it let him know
I06 AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
that life has a glory even at its saddest,
that humour and pathos clasp hands, that
loved ones are drawn nearer, and the soul
strengthened in the presence of anguish, pain,
and death. When Lamb sat down to write
he did not pull down his blind on all that is
greatest, if most awful, in human life. He
was gentle, kindly ; but he did not play at
pretending that there is no cemetery round
the corner. In Mr. Stevenson's exquisite
essays one looks in vain for the great heart
that palpitates through the pages of Charles
The great work, if we are not to be disap-
pointed, will be fiction. Mr. Stevenson is
said to feel this himself, and, as I understand,
" Harry Shovel " will be his biggest bid for
fame. It is to be, broadly speaking, a nine-
teenth-century " Peregrine Pickle," dashed
with Meredith, and this in the teeth of
many admirers who maintain that the best
of the author is Scottish. Mr. Stevenson,
however, knows what he is about. Critics
have said enthusiastically — for it is difficult
to write of Mr. Stevenson without enthusiasm
ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON. 10/
— that Alan Breck is as good as anything in
Scott. Alan Breck is certainly a masterpiece,
quite worthy of the greatest of all storytellers,
who, nevertheless, it should be remembered,
created these rich side characters by the
score, another before dinner-time. English
critics have taken Alan to their hearts, and
appreciate him thoroughly ; the reason, no
doubt, being that he is the character whom
England acknowledges as the Scottish type.
The Highlands, which are Scotland to the
same extent as Northumberland is England,
present such a character to this day, but no
deep knowledge of Mr. Stevenson's native
country was required to rep;"oduce him. An
artistic Englishman or American could have
done it. Scottish religion, I think, Mr,
Stevenson has never understood, except as
the outsider misunderstands it. He thinks
it hard because there are no coloured win-
dows. " The colour of Scotland has entered
into him altogether," says Mr. James, who,
we gather, conceives in Edinburgh Castle a
a place where tartans glisten in the sun, while
rocks re-echo bagpipes. Mr. James is right
I08 AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
in a way. It is the tartan, the claymore, the
cry that the heather is on fire, that are Scot-
land to Mr. Stevenson. But the Scotland
of our day is not a country rich in colour ; a
sombre grey prevails. Thus, though Mr.
Stevenson's best romance is Scottish, that is
only, I think, because of his extraordinary
aptitude for the picturesque. Give him any
period in any country that is romantic, and
he will soon steep himself in the kind of
knowledge he can best turn to account.
Adventures suit him best, the ladies being
left behind ; and so long as he is in fettle
it matters little whether the scene be Scot-
land or Spain. The great thing is that
he should now give to one ambitious book
the time in which he has hitherto written
half a dozen small ones. He will have to
take existence a little more seriously — to
weave broadcloth instead of lace.
REV. WALTER C. SMITH, D.D.
TOURING the four winters another and I
*^ were in Edinburgh we never entered any
but Free churches. This seems to have been
less on account of a scorn for other denomi-
nations than because we never thought of
them. We felt sorry for the " men " who
knew no better than to claim to be on the
side of Dr. Macgregor. Even our Free
kirks were limited to two, St. George's and
the Free High. After all, we must have
been liberally minded beyond most of our
fellows, for, as a rule, those who frequented
one of these churches shook their heads at
the other. It is said that Dr. Whyte and
Dr. Smith have a great appreciation of each
other. They, too, are liberally minded.
To contrast the two leading Free Church
ministers in Edinburgh as they struck a
student would be to become a boy again»
no AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
The one is always ready to go on fire, and
the other is sometimes at hand with a jug
of cold water. Dr. Smith counts a hundred
before he starts, whilst the minister of Free
St. George's is off at once at a gallop, and
would always arrive first at his destination if
he had not sometimes to turn back. He is
not only a Gladstonian, but Gladstonian ; his
enthusiasm carries him on as steam drives
the engine. Dr. Smith being a critic, with a
faculty of satire, what would rouse the one
man makes the other smile. Dr. Whyte
judges you as you are at the moment ; Dr.
Smith sees what you will be like to-morrow.
Some years ago the defeated side in a great
Assembly fight met at a breakfast to reason
itself into a belief that it had gained a
remarkable moral victory. Dr. Whyte and
Dr. Smith were both present, and the former
was so inspiriting that the breakfast became
a scene of enthusiasm. Then Dr. Smith
arose and made a remark about a company
of Mark Tapleys — after which the meeting
I have a curious reminiscence of the
REV. WALTER C. SMITH, D.D. Ill
student who most frequently accompanied
me to church in Edinburgh. One Sunday
when we were on our way up slushy Bath
Street to Free St. George's he discovered that
he had not a penny for the plate. I sug-
gested to him to give twopence next time;
but no, he turned back to our lodgings for
the penny. Sometime afterwards he found
himself in the same position when we were
nearing the Free High. " I'll give twopence
next time," he said, cheerfully. I have
thought this over since then, and wondered if
there was anything in it.
The most glorious privilege of the old is
to assist the young. The two ministers who
are among the chief pillars of the Free
Church in Edinburgh are not old yet, but
they have had a long experience, and the
strength and encouragement they have been
to the young is the grand outstanding fact of
their ministries. Their influence is, of course,
chiefly noticeable in the divinity men, who
make their Bible classes so remarkable.
There is a sort of Freemasonry among the
men who have come under the influence of
112 AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
Dr. Smith. It seems to have steadied them
— to have given them wise rules of Hfe that
have taken the noise out of them, and left
them undemonstrative, quiet, determined.
You will have little difficulty, as a rule, in
picking out Dr. Smith's men, whether in the
pulpit or in private. They have his mark,
as the Rugby boys were marked by Dr.
Arnold, Even in speaking of him, they
seldom talk in superlatives : only a light
comes into their eye, and you realize what a
well-founded reverence is. I met lately in
London an Irishman who, when the conver-
sation turned to Scotland, asked what Edin-
burgh was doing without Dr. Smith (who
was in America at the time). He talked
with such obvious knowledge of Dr. Smith's
teaching, and with such affection for the man,
that by and by we were surprised to hear
that he had never heard him preach nor read
a line of his works. He explained that he
knew intimately two men who looked upon
their Sundays in the Free High, and still
more upon their private talks with the min-
ister, as the turning point in their lives.
REV. WALTER C. SMITH, D.D. II3
They were such fine fellows, and they were
so sure that they owed their development to
Dr. Smith, that to know the followers was to
know something of the master. This it is to
be a touchstone to young men.
There are those who think Dr. Smith the
poet of higher account than Dr. Smith the
preacher. I do not agree with them, though
there can be no question that the author of
" Olrig Grange " and Mr. Alexander Ander-
son are the two men now in Edinburgh who
have (at times) the divine afflatus. "Surface-
man " is a true son of Burns. Of him it may
be said, as it never can be said of Dr. Smith,
that he sings because he must. His thoughts
run in harmonious numbers. The author of
"Olrig Grange" is the stronger mind, how-
ever, and his lines are always pregnant of
meaning. He is of the school of Mr. Lewis
Morris, but an immeasurably higher intellect
if not so fine an artist : indeed, though there
arc hundreds of his pages that are not poetry,
there are almost none that could not be re-
written into weighty prose. Sound is never
his sole object. Good novels in verse are a
114 AN EDINBURGH ELEVEN.
mistake, for it is quite certain they would be
better in prose. The novelist has a great
deal to say that cannot be said naturally in
rhythm, and much of Dr. Smith's blank verse
is good prose in frills. It is driven into an
The privilege of critics is to get twelve or
twenty minor poets in a row, and then blow
them all over at once. I remember one who
dispatched Dr. Smith with a verse from the
book under treatment. Dr. Smith writes of
a poet's verses : " There is no sacred fire in
them, Nor much of homely sense and
shrewd," and when the critic came to these
lines, he stopped reading : he declared that
Dr. Smith had passed judgment on himself.
This is a familiar form of criticism, but in
the present case it had at least the demerit of
being false. There is so much sacred fire
about Dr. Smith's best poetry, that it is what
makes him a poet ; and as for *' homely sense
and shrewd," he has simply more of it than
any contemporary writer of verse. It is
what gives heart to his satire, and keeps him
from wounding merely for the pleasure of
REV. WALTER C. SMITH, D.D. II5
drawing blood. In conjunction with the
sacred fire, the noble indignation that mean
things should be, the insight into the tragic,
it is what makes " Hilda " his greatest poem.
Without it there could not be pathos, which
is concerned with little things ; nor humour,
nor, indeed, the flash into men and things
that makes such a poem as " Dr. Linkletter's
Scholar " as true as life, as sad as death. If
only for the sake of that noble piece of
writing, every Scottish student should have
"North-Country Folk" in his possession.
The poem is probably the most noteworthy
thing that has been said of Northern Uni-
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suggestive results, to compress the sum of his observations into
a few well-weighed and well-written pages."— ^a/^^r^ryjPez'zVw.
BY THE SAME AUTHOR.
23rd Edition, completing an issue of 82,000 copies.
Natural Law in the Spiritual World.
Crown ovo, cloth, price 3s. 6d.
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London : HODDER & STOUGHTON, 27, Paternoster Row.
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I With an
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■• ine uuLiiui cijjpcaio <w ,..^^, ^^,.,.^ „ _ circle to
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value, IS made admirably simple and clear."— Z>«//y Chronicle.
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